Samsung find watch. Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 workout test: Is it a good fitness tracker

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 workout test: Is it a good fitness tracker?

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is a capable smartwatch and attractive smartphone accessory, but with GPS and a heart rate monitor, among other things, it’s also designed to be used a fitness tracker. How does it compare to the best fitness trackers on the market, though?

Though Samsung’s latest smartwatch lineup runs the new Google Wear OS, Samsung Health is the device’s native activity tracking platform. As with most of the best smartwatches, the Galaxy Watch 4 supports a steady list of preset workout types and tracks your time elapsed, calories burned and distance traveled, when applicable.

Over the course of one week, I used the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 to track a variety of workouts indoors and outdoors. I wore it to a traditional gym, biking in a quiet beachside town and took it on a dozen walks in the not-so-quiet New York City. I even found the time to get my namaste on with some yoga, a recent addition to my recovery routine.

Read on for my takeaways from working out with the Galaxy Watch 4. Note that my experiences reflect using the standard, sporty-looking Galaxy Watch 4 in 40mm, though users should see similar results when using different sizes or the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic. And check out my guide to the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 vs. Galaxy Watch 4 Classic for more information on which version is right for you.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4: Cycling

Unlike my Apple Watch 6, which offers options for both indoor cycling and outdoor cycling, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 has a single cycling workout type. Though I have one of the best indoor exercise bikes, I opted for an outdoor ride on a particularly beautiful weekend morning.

I manually launched my cycling working at the start of the ride, enabling the always-on display so I could see the metrics I want without twisting my wrist up from my handlebars. But if I chose not to glance, the Galaxy Watch 4 provides audible updates. Not only did it count completed miles aloud, it provided a brief workout summary every 30 minutes, too. My ride lasted just over an hour, so I heard summaries twice.

According to the Galaxy Watch 4, I burned 514 calories and averaged 9.5 miles per hour on my approximately 10-mile ride. My bike’s odometer registered a near-identical distance. My Apple Watch said I traveled a full tenth of a mile further, but I neglected to pause my outdoor cycle on the Apple Watch when I took a break halfway through the ride to capture some pictures of the ocean. I walked in circles a few times to find good lighting, I guess.

The Galaxy Watch 4’s auto-pause feature also recognized I wasn’t riding during the photo opp, resulting in a more accurate reflection of my bike ride. I’ll talk more about the auto-pause feature in a bit.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4: Weightlifting

I put the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 to the test back in the gym. There are two ways you can track traditional weight training, either by individual exercises or with a catch-all circuit training option. If you’re the kind to do 100 reps of the same move in a row, the Galaxy Watch has niche selections like arm curls, bench press, lateral raises, pull-ups and more. It even shows on-screen guidance for form and counting reps — a feature that makes Fitbit’s watches like the Fitbit Versa 3 such capable workout companions.

Though this degree of specificity is something not many smartwatches offer, I stuck with the circuit training option. I alternated between upper body, lower body and core exercises with dumbbells, getting a 30-minute update the same way I did when cycling. I think it overestimated my calorie burn, but I took this opportunity to customize what information I see on-screen during my workouts. I selected time elapsed, calories burned, current heart rate and max heart rate, though there are few more metrics to choose from.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4: Walking

Of all my exercise banked with the Galaxy Watch 4, most of it came from walking. Between taking my dog to the park twice a day and opting to walk anywhere in New York City within an hour away, I had plenty of chances to see how well the Galaxy Watch 4’s auto workout tracking works.

Juggling my 90-pound dog Steve, phone, keys and sometimes a coffee, I often forget to launch my walk workouts. A buzz on my wrist let me know when the Galaxy Watch 4 detected my walk and picked up tracking from when I left my apartment, starting me 5-to-10 minutes in depending on how long I’ve been moving.

The auto-pause function came in handy during my walk, too. Haptics let me know when my walk paused and restarted, catering to my dog’s need to say hi to every passerby and stiff every tree. His mannerisms left me with nearly a 30-minute mile average on my Apple Watch, whereas I recorded a 22-minute mile on the Galaxy Watch 4 most times I walked Steve.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4: Yoga

I don’t always track my yoga workouts, especially when I use the time to disconnect from devices. But as I’m improving my yoga practice, I’m learning technology might help me understand my body better. Though I sensed my calorie count once again ran high, I recognized my heart rate updated more quickly than it did on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3.

For a workout where your heart rate stays in a shorter range than, say, cardio, the frequent refresh is helpful for seeing the immediate impact of certain poses on my effort levels. And if you’re generally keen on monitoring your heart rate zones, you can see them during any workout by scrolling to the bottom of the fitness tracking interface.

Is the Galaxy Watch 4 my new everyday fitness tracker?

The Galaxy Watch 4 is a formidable exercise partner. But after my week of workouts, I have mixed feelings about using it as my everyday activity tracker. While I appreciated the sharp heart rate readings and want to see the auto-pause/auto-play function on more smartwatches, there’s a key reason I would opt for one of the best Fitbits or best sports watches instead: battery life.

With my level of activity and GPS use on my daily walks (I average 7 miles per day) the Galaxy Watch 4’s battery life doesn’t keep up. At most I could eke out 24 hours, but I found the stamina inconsistent. The last thing I want to happen is get ready for a workout, only to see my smartwatch is in desperate need of juice. And it happened one too many times in my experience with the Galaxy Watch 4.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro review: The best wearable for Android fans

Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 5 Pro brings a few minor improvements in hardware and software over other Galaxy Watch models, but is it good enough to replace a GPS sports watch?

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro

pros and cons

  • Lightweight titanium casing
  • Sapphire glass AMOLED display
  • Large enough battery for most users
  • Google Wear OS 3 app support
  • Limited, manual GPX process
  • Skin temperature not yet enabled
  • Blood pressure remains elusive in the US

Samsung announced two versions of its Galaxy Watch 5 last year, but unlike previous years where we saw a standard model and one with a physical rotating bezel, Samsung did away with the physical dial and introduced a new Pro model.

The Pro marketing of this watch is a bit over the top, with Samsung doing its fair share of promoting how much better the Watch 5 Pro is for outdoor adventures than the standard Watch 5 model. It physically has a harder sapphire glass display, titanium watch case, and a much larger capacity battery, so these may help it withstand a bit more abuse.

A couple of software features round out the Pro moniker such as the ability to import GPX files for hiking and biking while also having your return routes automatically mapped out for when you forget to do it yourself. For all of the details on how to use the new Route tile and GPX files, check out this detailed walk-through. It’s clear that the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is not going to challenge your Garmin, Coros, or Polar GPS sports watch for serious outdoor adventures and desire for weekly charging, but it is the longest-lasting flagship smartwatch and will satisfy most casual athletes.

I’ve gone hiking, running, fishing, and sleeping with the Black Titanium Galaxy Watch 5 Pro over the past three weeks and have built a fair understanding of what Samsung is trying to do with the new watch. And while it may be the company’s latest smartwatch.- and the first to GoPro.- there are a few shortcomings that can be fixed with future software updates.

The 1.4-inch Super AMOLED display is gorgeous, with crisp fonts, brilliant colors, and a seamless touchscreen experience. With rugged, outdoorsy smartwatches, input delays and lag can be frequent. Not with the 5 Pro; Taps and swipes have performed flawlessly, and I am especially enjoying the default watch face options.

This year, the watch case is made with titanium and available in black or gray. You’ll have to buy the regular Watch 5 for the more lively colors. The speaker is oddly placed on the top of the watch.- where the bands sort of cover it.- while the microphone is found on the right side between the navigation buttons.

The default Band that shipped with the Watch 5 Pro is the new D-Buckle Sport Band, which is much better than the default Band I received with my Watch 4 Classic last year. It is a soft silicone Band that you adjust by sliding open a latch, fitting the Band, and then locking the latch. How secure is the new buckle? I have yet to see the Band pop open during any of my workouts or daily activities.

Two hardware buttons are positioned on the right side of the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro: A Home key and a Back key. A single press of the Home key takes you back to your default watch face. You can assign any app you want to a double press and long press of the Home key, so I have mine set to Google Wallet and Google Assistant, respectively. This integration and support for Google have transformed the Samsung Galaxy Watch experience into one that Android enthusiasts will be satisfied with.

Still, not everything is geared toward Google services. Samsung Pay is the default press-and-hold action of the Back key and there is currently no setting available to change this to Google Pay or any other application. Let’s hope Samsung provides a software update to allow customization of this button action, too.

Flipping the watch over we see the Samsung BioActive sensor that is used to capture your heart rate, bioelectrical impedance for blood pressure (not in the US), irregular heartbeat (ECG), blood oxygen levels, and more. To the left side of the back sensor unit is the skin temperature sensor but this has not been activated yet, so stay tuned for more on the tracking feature.

Google Wear OS powered by Samsung

When you first power on the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, you’re greeted with a familiar Samsung wearable experience. There are the usual Tizen OS watch faces, tile UI elements, Samsung apps, Bixby, and more. The 5 Pro is clearly still a Galaxy Watch, and with Google Wear OS powering the software, the watch only gets better.

Open the app drawer and you will start to see why the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro running Wear OS is a game changer for Samsung and Google’s watch platform. I currently have the following installed that were not present on my past Galaxy Watch models: Google Wallet, Google Maps, Google Assistant, Google Fit, Gboard (yes, a keyboard for your watch), and more. Thanks to Wear OS, the Watch 5 Pro gains more functionality and access to some of my most widely-used apps across devices.

However, that’s not to say that the software experience.- particularly the Google Play Store.- is perfect. There were many times when I would search for watch-supported apps on my phone and would be presented with results that weren’t even compatible. This was because whenever I searched a keyword, the Google Play Store would jump out of its watch-filtered system and show me all results in the marketplace.- including mobile and tablet apps. My hopes for a Telegram or Starbucks app were dashed a couple of times.

To see which Wear OS apps you can confidently install on your Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, jump into the Play Store found directly on the watch itself. I found many more apps using the Play Store on the watch, including searching via voice to text.

Personalizing the Galaxy Watch experience

The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is managed through two key Samsung apps: Galaxy Wearable and Samsung Health. To make the most out of your smartwatch, you’ll want to sync up with the two services, both of which are free but very beneficial.

    Galaxy Wearable: You’re presented with the basic Galaxy Watch information, including the watch name, its battery status, links to watch faces, settings, and more. It is within the app where you can adjust the elements of the Watch 5 Pro’s watch faces, including what metrics you’d like to appear on the home screen, and the color theming. There is even a compass index option in the Pro analog watch face to try out.

To encourage healthy habits, you can also start challenges with friends, gain achievements, and view weekly performance reports via Samsung Health. There is also a fitness section of Samsung Health where you can find programs provided by third-party services. There are not a ton of available programs, and many are targeted toward beginners, but it looks like a decent free service provided by Samsung Health.

The one real Pro feature: GPX tracking

The one Pro software feature of the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is support for GPX for hiking and biking. GPX, or GPS Exchange Format File, is a file type that contains geographic info such as tracks, routes, and waypoints. It’s a bit odd that this is the FOCUS of the Watch 5 Pro when there is no support for trail running, mountain biking, or even running.

The first thing you are going to need is a GPX file for the location you plan to hike or bike. You can try searching online, but you will quickly realize that a third-party service subscription is required to create GPX files. Trailforks is a fairly affordable subscription with GPX files for popular hikes. Personally, I am a Strava subscriber.

The GPX support is interesting and if you build up a library of routes, it could be useful even for offline travel. However, my GPS sports watches have preloaded topographic maps and much longer battery life, so they are far more useful for hiking in the wilderness. It’s not clear if Samsung is going to prioritize GPX reading as much moving forward. I hope it does, because while the feature on the Watch 5 Pro is lacking compared to the sports watch market, it’s a great first step.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro or Apple Watch Series 8?

There isn’t much point in comparing the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro to the Apple Watch Series 8 running WatchOS 9 since both models are exclusive to their respective operating systems and platforms. An Android user will find more benefits using the Galaxy Watch, while iOS users will feel at home with the Apple Watch.

That said, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro beats the Apple Watch 8 in terms of battery life and body composition measurements. However, Apple’s WatchOS 9 brings better fitness support with running power from the wrist, better options for viewing data as you work out, more robust watch applications, and a powerful Apple Healthkit system.

Bottom line

The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is available now for 449.99 in Black Titanium and Gray Titanium. Samsung offers compelling trade-in deals so I sent in my Galaxy Watch 4 Classic for a LTE Watch 5 Pro and shaved 140 off the price. The Watch 5 Pro has proven to be a perfect companion to my Galaxy Z Fold 4. I’ve held many calls on the watch, through Bluetooth and LTE connections, and enjoy having all of the Google apps on a Samsung watch.

The Watch 5 Pro easily lasts two full days, including tracking my sleep at night, and functions into the third day. This easily beats the Apple Watch 7 and 8 Series, but we will soon be testing it against the Apple Watch Ultra. The D-Buckle Band looks great, stays securely in place, and is very comfortable while the brilliant Super AMOLED display makes it easy for my aging eyes to interact with the watch.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is easily the best wearable for Android smartphone owners and it excels in all of the smartwatch categories. It’s made with materials normally reserved for high-end GPS sports watches but is still priced at 450. Samsung may have missed on the Pro label, but the company nailed the watch and there is more coming in future updates. Android smartphone users no longer have to be envious of the Apple Watch and iPhone users.

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What are the pros and cons of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro?

The pros of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro are its lightweight titanium casing, sapphire glass AMOLED display, it has a large enough battery for most users, and it has Google Wear OS 3 app support.

The cons of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro are it has a limited, manual GPX process, the skin temperature feature is not yet enabled, and the blood pressure feature remains elusive in the US.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro or Apple Watch Series 8?

There isn’t much point in comparing the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro to the Apple Watch Series 8 running WatchOS 9 since both models are exclusive to their respective operating systems and platforms. An Android user will find more benefits using the Galaxy Watch, while iOS users will feel at home with the Apple Watch.

That said, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro beats the Apple Watch 8 in terms of battery life and body composition measurements. However, Apple’s WatchOS 9 brings better fitness support with running power from the wrist, better options for viewing data as you work out, more robust watch applications, and a powerful Apple Healthkit system.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 review: Fantastically familiar

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 brings subtle but meaningful improvements to an already winning formula. Fundamentally, it’s not too different from the Galaxy Watch 4, so those considering an upgrade may want to hold off. But for first-time buyers, the Galaxy Watch 5 is one of the most well-rounded smartwatches Android users can buy — even if Samsung users get a slightly better deal.

What we like

Better battery life on 44mm model

Reliable fitness tracking

What we don’t like

Very similar to its predecessor

Skin temperature sensor not ready at launch

Small models still have short battery life

Some features exclusive to Samsung ecosystem

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 brings subtle but meaningful improvements to an already winning formula. Fundamentally, it’s not too different from the Galaxy Watch 4, so those considering an upgrade may want to hold off. But for first-time buyers, the Galaxy Watch 5 is one of the most well-rounded smartwatches Android users can buy — even if Samsung users get a slightly better deal.

With the Galaxy Watch 4, Samsung demonstrated it could make a respectable smartwatch by melding its hardware know-how with Google’s retooled Wear OS operating system. Built on top of that solid base comes its successor, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5. With minor, almost invisible nips and tucks, Samsung is promising an even more refined smartwatch this time around. Read our Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 review for the verdict.

The Galaxy Watch 5 smartwatch offers a bigger battery, more sturdy body, and more comfortable fit than its predecessor. It supports Google Assistant and Google Maps navigation, while a body composition monitor, skin temperature sensor, and improved sleep tracking makes for an impressive health-tracking product.

About this Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 review: I tested the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 (44mm) over a period of 16 days. It was running software version R910XXU1AVH6 and was connected to a Huawei P30 Pro throughout the testing period. The unit was provided to Android Authority by Samsung for this review.

Update, June 2023: We’ve updated our Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 review with details related to new features added with One UI 5 Watch.

What you need to know about the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5

Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Watch 5 series on August 10, 2022. The lineup includes the new flagship Galaxy Watch 5 Pro and the vanilla Galaxy Watch 5. The latter is available in two dial sizes and in Wi-Fi or LTE flavors.

The Galaxy Watch 5 is the successor to the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, the tech giant’s first watch to debut with Google’s revamped Wear OS 3 build. We were pretty fond of that particular timepiece and still hold it in high regard. As a result, you’ll hear the Galaxy Watch 4 series mentioned as the benchmark plenty of times during this review. The Galaxy Watch 5 builds on this solid foundation with spit and polish where it counts. Chief of these improvements is a larger battery across all sizes and a more resilient sapphire glass lens, but there’s plenty else to take note of.

Health tracking gains from a skin temperature sensor that augments the watch’s menstrual health tracking experience. Overall, health and fitness data still funnels through into Samsung Health, although users can export data to the likes of Strava and Technogym too. There’s also a dizzying number of exercises and activities to choose from, including more niche options like rowing, yachting, and Pilates. However, five workout types are auto-detected: running/walking, elliptical and rowing machine activity, swimming, and dynamic workout.

The Galaxy Watch 5 builds on Samsung’s solid smartwatch foundation with spit and polish where it counts.

As the Galaxy Watch 5 runs Wear OS, you have the freedom to use third-party and Google apps if so desired. This includes Google Wallet, Google Maps, Google Assistant, and more. However, you can still use Bixby and Samsung Pay as the default voice assistant and payments platform. Like the Galaxy Watch 4, the Galaxy Watch 5 can pair with most Android phones, but the complete list of features is reserved exclusively for Samsung phone users. This includes SmartThings integration, blood pressure monitoring, and ECG features, although the latter is not available in the US.

As for the differences between the Galaxy Watch 5 and the Watch 5 Pro, the latter is the new range-topper, but is effectively a chunkier Galaxy Watch 5 with a titanium chassis wrapped around a 45mm dial. That broader body houses a larger battery, a new D-buckle strap as standard, and training features for outdoor athletes, like GPX route display and a track back feature for lost hikers. Notably, the Galaxy Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro don’t differ much in terms of the core health tracking kit. They share the same skin temperature sensor and “BioActive” sensor array for tracking heart rate, heart health, and body composition.

As you’ve probably noticed, there aren’t markedly fundamental differences between the Galaxy Watch models. Refinement over revolution is the name of the game here.

The Wi-Fi Galaxy Watch 5 model is priced at 279, 30 more than its predecessor’s launch price. For those considering the LTE model, pricing starts at 329. If you want the larger 44mm dial size that costs an extra 30 on top. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro starts at 449.

A healthy list of colorways is on offer. The 40mm model comes in Silver, Graphite, and Pink Gold with Bora Purple, Graphite, and Pink Gold straps. You can opt for a Sapphire, Silver, or Graphite 44mm case and a Sapphire, White, or Graphite strap to complement it. If you have a collection of Galaxy Watch 4 straps or 20mm bands, they’ll happily fasten to both Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Watch 5 Pro models. The Galaxy Watch 5 is available to buy from Samsung, Amazon, Best Buy, and other major retailers around the world.

What’s good?

I got a flood of déjà vu when unboxing the Galaxy Watch 5. Although the Galaxy Watch 4 has been my daily driver for a good few months, I was easily confused between the two watches save for the different watch faces and strap colors. Some may feel Samsung took the easy way out by offering the Galaxy Watch 5 in an almost identical shell, but I think the company was valid in keeping the design so similar. Why tweak something that works well?

As a result, the Galaxy Watch 5 retains an understated design dominated by a large, round face and vibrant, always-on AMOLED screen. The side-mounted pushers are placed out of the way but are easy to locate and provide tactile, clicky feedback when called upon. Thanks to a redesigned sensor housing that makes better contact with the skin, it’s also one of the most comfortable smartwatches I’ve ever worn. The slightly larger sensor protrusion (visible in the left image in the gallery below) helps the watch clasp your wrist without strangling it. I found it to move a lot less during activity, too.

Subtle design improvements elsewhere also ensure the Galaxy Watch 5 is a more rugged device. On my first day of wearing it, I absentmindedly slapped it against tables, walls, and other furniture in my vicinity. I’m usually the kind of person who’d destroy everything without a protective case. On closer inspection, I found no chips, scuffs, or scratches on the watch’s brim or lens. I can’t say the same for its predecessor, which, despite having the same MIL-STD-810H rating, has plenty of missing paint around its edge. The sapphire glass covering the display also promises to better protect the screen against damage better than its predecessor. Overall, the Galaxy Watch 5’s improved durability might not be a sexy new feature, but users will appreciate it in the months ahead. Of course, if you want the very best protection and don’t mind spending a little extra, the titanium-built Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is still the most sturdy option.

Galaxy Watch 5 (left) with Galaxy Watch 4

Galaxy Watch 5 (left) with Galaxy Watch 4

On top of retaining a similar shell to the previous generation, Samsung’s also recycling many of the internals for the Galaxy Watch 5. The Exynos W920 makes a return alongside 1.5GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. Despite this, navigating menus on the Galaxy Watch 5 feels a little snappier than before. Some errant stutters remain, but I didn’t feel the need to disable animations on this watch like I previously had with the Galaxy Watch 4.

One big component upgrade is worth talking about, and it’s the star of the show. The Galaxy Watch 5’s larger battery soothes the power anxiety I endured with the Galaxy Watch 4. It translates into markedly better endurance between charges. During my testing, I regularly eked out two solid days of use per charge from my 44mm model, and this was with SpO2 monitoring and snore monitoring activated. You can improve this figure even further by switching off the always-on display setting. Going to bed with around 20% battery left in the tank, I woke with 9% remaining on the dial; this makes sleep tracking a lot more viable.

Despite the improvements, you’ll still find the Garmin Venu 2 and Fitbit Sense 2 have much better battery life. Samsung’s done a great job with the Galaxy Watch 5’s endurance, and even more so with the pricier Pro model, but there’s still room for further improvement.

When the time comes to charge it back up, the Galaxy Watch 5 will spend slightly less time tethered to the wall than its predecessor. It took around 90 minutes to hit 100% from zero. That’s a solid improvement over the Galaxy Watch 4, which took two hours for a full charge.

Let’s talk fitness tracking. We extensively covered the Galaxy Watch 5 series’ health kit, fitness tracking accuracy, and companion apps in our Galaxy Watch 5 Pro review so be sure to check it out for all the nitty gritty detail. Still, I’ll outline here what I experienced with the vanilla model.

Regarding GPS performance, the Galaxy Watch 5 does the job. It’s by no means the most accurate watch ever, but I feel confident it’ll track your walks and runs more consistently than its predecessor. See the GPX tracks below.

The Galaxy Watch 5, albeit a little shaky in a straight line, at least keeps to the actual roads and paths. The Galaxy Watch 4 thought I went wall-hopping. I should mention that this data was recorded while walking using the walking exercise option on both watches. I did expect the GPS performance on both watches to be a little better as neither stick fully to the route I took. This isn’t a deal breaker for the Galaxy Watch 5 as it’s at least more reliable than the Galaxy Watch 4 ever was, but if you really value location tracking there are much better running watches out there that will do a better job.

As for heart rate accuracy, my resting heart rate often polled much lower on the Galaxy Watch 5 than on my Fitbit Versa 2. When wearing both on the same arm, the numbers largely evened out, even though the Galaxy Watch 5 takes a little longer to get up to speed. That said, I feel the figures provided by the Galaxy Watch 5 are well within the realm of reliability for casual heart rate tracking.

The Galaxy Watch 5 also mirrors its older sibling’s heart rate tracking accuracy. It’s worth noting that the Galaxy Watch 4 kept pace with the Polar H10 chest strap during that particular review, so it’s safe to say the Galaxy Watch 5 should serve its users well. I have no idea what happened to the Galaxy Watch 4’s heart rate data before the 10-minute mark. This blip affects GPS data, too.

Sleep tracking is one additional fitness tracking highlight worth touching on as Samsung has greatly expanded its suite in recent years to provide sleep coaching, sleep stages, blood oxygen monitoring, snore detection, and more.

I had a nasty cold while I was testing the watch, which made for a highly volatile schedule. Samsung does explain that readings may be affected by fit and temperature, but I’m not sold on the accuracy of the sleep stages; the results varied considerably from those of my Fitbit Versa 2.

Samsung’s approach does have some perks though. It presents sleep information in a similar way to Fitbit, but also in a way that’s occasionally easier to understand. For instance, instead of Fitbit’s somewhat confusing blood oxygen saturation graph, Samsung tells you exactly how long your blood oxygen reading remained below 90%. You can tap that section for the actual chart, complete with SpO2 percentage down the Y axis.

Finally, in a better late than never moment, Samsung is due to activate its temperature sensor well after the watch’s launch. Announced in mid-February 2023, the company will collaborate with Natural Cycles to bring more acute menstrual cycle tracking to the watch. The feature will land on the Galaxy Watch 5 in the second quarter of 2023 across more than 30 countries.

In April 2023, Samsung announced a new partnership with Peloton. An “integrated app” is now available on the Galaxy Watch 5 that’ll allow the use of the watch with the company’s exercise equipment, including the Peloton Bike, Bike Plus, Tread, and Row and Guide. That’s good news for those that already own the necessary equipment or those shopping for a compatible wearable.

For those looking to invest in the future, the Galaxy Watch 5 should stand to gain updates through 2026. The next big OS version is already confirmed, with One UI 5 Watch based on Wear OS 4 dropping later in 2023. Samsung notes that this patch will bring improved sleep analysis, complete with additional snoring hours, blood oxygen levels, and sleep phases metrics. Personalized heart rate zones and updates to the watch’s SOS features are also incoming.

What’s not so good?

While tucked in bed with a fever, I couldn’t help but think of the skin temperature sensor lying inactive on the Galaxy Watch 5. Plenty of wearables brands launch new devices with features that don’t work out of the box, and sadly, Samsung fell into the same trap here. We mentioned that Samsung would use this sensor to further improve cycle tracking for those who menstruate, but it’s only becoming a reality half a year after the device’s launch.

While Samsung has improved the battery life on the 44mm model, 40mm Galaxy Watch 5 owners may not be so lucky. There are plenty of reports that the smaller and most affordable watch can’t come close to the two-day endurance figure on the larger model instead barely breaking a single day in some cases. This will largely depend on your usage habits, but it is disappointing that the 40mm model won’t give buyers the same confidence level as the 44mm alternative.

Beyond this, most of my qualms with the Galaxy Watch 5 are related to navigating the watch. The Galaxy Watch 5 display did not recognize several of my swipes, an annoying situation for a UI that relies so heavily on gestures. I found the touch bezel pretty tricky to master, too. There’s a weird dead zone around the watch’s brim that’s difficult to find time after time. This often led to errant watch face touches and erroneous app launches as my fingers mistakenly touched icons. The bezel should make jogging through menus and screens easier, but I didn’t find this to be the case. I eventually disabled the touch bezel entirely.

Finally, there’s the problem with feature exclusivity. You will need a Samsung phone to get the most out of the watch, which includes the ECG functionality and blood pressure monitoring via the Galaxy-only Health Monitor app. That takes two-thirds of Samsung’s vaunted BioActive sensors off the table for non-Samsung users, though the ECG isn’t available to users in the US at all. Pairing through a Samsung phone is also a more seamless affair as many of the necessary apps will be pre-installed.

In the grand scheme of things, there are few absolute dealbreakers, if any, on the Galaxy Watch 5. Samsung has proved its intent to update its Galaxy Watch series for years and could fix many of the mentioned issues with a little software love. It’s not the perfect Wear OS watch, nor does it outshine the more premium Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, but it does deliver value.

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Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 review: peak of Android smartwatches

So far, 2022 has been a year of iterative updates for much of Samsung’s portfolio, and the Galaxy Watch 5 is perhaps the best example of that. Looking at the Galaxy Watch 5 and its predecessor side by side, it’s difficult to tell what’s different. Both smartwatches have the same chipset, nearly identical designs, similar health features, etc.

But look a little closer, and you start to see what makes the Galaxy Watch 5 tick. It boasts a larger battery, faster charging, a more durable design, and improved accuracy for health tracking. None of these are groundbreaking upgrades, but they once again prove that Samsung is among the best in the business for Wear OS watches.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: Design

The iterative nature of the Galaxy Watch 5 is seen immediately in its design. The Galaxy Watch 5 comes in 40mm and 44mm sizes, with my review unit being the former. The only real physical difference with the Watch 5 is the 3-in-1 BioActive Sensor on the bottom, which is larger than before to get you more accurate health data. The Watch 5 is also slightly heavier, with the 40mm model weighing 28.7 grams compared to the 25.9 grams of heft for the 40mm Watch 4.

Otherwise, the Galaxy Watch 5 is virtually identical to its predecessor. But that’s far from a bad thing in my book. The aluminum casing is sleek and minimalistic, just how I personally prefer my smartwatches to look. The two power buttons are wonderfully clicky, the 20mm watch bands can be easily swapped out with any other styles you’d like, and the Watch 5 feels extremely comfortable to wear throughout a full day of use. Even with the heavier body compared to the Watch 4, the Watch 5 has never been uncomfortable or fatiguing to wear. It’s one of those smartwatches you throw on your wrist and quickly forget it’s even there.

The 44mm Watch 5, and even larger Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, are available if you prefer a bigger watch. But as someone with very tiny wrists, I love that Samsung retains the 40mm size to cater to folks like myself who can’t comfortably wear big watches. It’s something that many other Wear OS options tend to overlook, so it’s great to see Samsung having something available for people of all wrist sizes.

Similar to the Watch 4, you can swipe on the bezel surrounding the Watch 5’s display to scroll through apps or navigate menus. It’s a fine idea and is great when it works, but I often found myself fighting with the feature. Sometimes, the touch bezel navigates smoothly and takes me where I expect. Other times, however, it either doesn’t register my finger or scrolls far too quickly — forcing me to fiddle with it to get to the page I want. It’s better than nothing, but I would have much rather preferred a rotating crown/slug, or for Samsung to resurrect the rotating bezel it’s so intent on killing.

Beyond that, there’s not much more to say about the Galaxy Watch 5’s design. It’s far from the most inventive or original-looking smartwatch, but the execution in (almost) every regard is top-notch. With a comfy on-wrist experience, great buttons, and easily swappable watch bands, there’s little to complain about here.

Galaxy Watch 5: Screen

Something else that leaves little to complain about is the Galaxy Watch 5’s screen. The 40mm model gives you a 1.2-inch 396 x 396 screen, while the 44mm ramps things up to a 1.4-inch panel with a 450 x 450 resolution. Regardless of which size you choose, both versions feature a Super AMOLED display with “full color, always on” functionality.

Samsung is famous for delivering some of the best screens on smartphones, and that expertise carries over just as well to smartwatches. After wearing the 40mm Galaxy Watch 5 for a little over a week, I’ve been thoroughly happy with every aspect of its screen. Colors are bright and punchy in the best way possible, the ambient light sensor automatically increases/decreases brightness when you need it to, and the Watch 5 gets bright enough that it’s easily viewable even in direct sunlight. I was worried about having difficulty viewing the screen while walking the High Line in Manhattan with the sun beating down on me, but even then, I never had a problem reading the Galaxy Watch 5’s display.

And as hinted at above, the Galaxy Watch 5 supports an always-on display function. It’s not turned on by default, but you can easily enable it from the Settings app. Most watch faces show pops of color in their always-on mode, and if you open an app and then put your wrist down, a basic white clock shows the time over it.

My one and only complaint about the Galaxy Watch 5’s display is the responsiveness of its always-on screen. After lifting your wrist to look at the watch, you have to wait a beat before the display switches from always-on to its fully engaged mode. Far from a deal breaker, it’s one of those things I notice throughout the day.

Galaxy Watch 5: Performance

Powering the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is Samsung’s Exynos W920 chipset, 1.5GB of RAM, and 16GB of internal storage. If those specs sound familiar to you, that’s because they’re exactly the same as they were on the Galaxy Watch 4.

For the most part, the Galaxy Watch 5 is a great performer. Apps open quickly, menus (sometimes) scroll smoothly, and opening Samsung Pay or Google Assistant using the physical buttons is instantaneous. But a 100% seamless experience is not provided by the Watch 5.

During my time wearing the Galaxy Watch 5, I’ve frequently noticed little inconsistencies with the UX. Swiping down to view the quick settings pane often takes multiple tries. When scrolling through my tiles, it’s not uncommon to see glitchy animations. The Watch 5 always does what I ask of it — and usually does it very quickly — but it all still feels a little rough around the edges. The Exynos W920 is a perfectly fine chip for the watch, but I can’t help but wonder if things would have been better with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon W5 Gen 1.

Galaxy Watch 5: Battery life and charging

If you read any of Samsung’s marketing for the Galaxy Watch 5, you’ll see the company claiming that its latest smartwatch can get 40 to 50 hours of battery life per charge — an absolutely massive jump over the 18 hours of endurance Apple promises for the Apple Watch Series 7. Combined with a battery increase from 361 mAh in the Watch 4 to a 410 mAh cell in the Watch 5, all the makings are there for legendary endurance.

In practice, the Galaxy Watch 5 has totally acceptable battery life, but it’s nowhere near the 40 to 50 hours Samsung claims. Most of my days with the Watch 5 weren’t very intensive. It tracks my steps throughout the day, receives a steady stream of notifications from my Galaxy Z Flip 4, and has the always-on display enabled. With this use — combined with a few Google Assistant questions — I ended one day with 41% remaining after 14 hours and 12 minutes of use. Following just under 7 hours of sleep tracking, I woke up to the Galaxy Watch 5 with 18% battery remaining after 22 hours and 37 minutes of total usage.

If you plan on using the Watch 5 for actual workouts instead of basic step tracking throughout the day, prepare for the battery to drain even faster. After recording six outdoor walking sessions — totaling 1 hour and 27 minutes — combined with frequent notifications and an always-on screen, the Galaxy Watch 5 had 24% battery remaining following 17 hours and 24 minutes of usage.

This is fine battery life, and better than what I see with my Apple Watch Series 7. You might be able to squeeze out 50 hours of use if you disable the always-on screen, limit your notification intake, keep the brightness to a minimum, etc. But if you plan on using the Galaxy Watch 5 with the features that are available, expect closer to 24 hours of use and not much more. It’s good endurance, just not at all in the ballpark of what Samsung is advertising.

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Where Samsung’s claims do hold true is charging. According to Samsung, faster charging support means the Galaxy Watch 5 can get up to 45% extra battery after just 30 minutes, thanks to 10-watt charging speeds. Interestingly enough, I found the Galaxy Watch 5 to charge even faster than that.

After charging for 12 minutes, the Galaxy Watch 5 consistently gains over 20%of battery life. After 30 minutes of charging, my Galaxy Watch 5 regularly gets over 60% battery back — far beyond the 45% claim Samsung makes. To get the watch from 0 to 100%, you’ll need to wait around 1 hour and 12 minutes. This was all done using my 61W RavPower charging brick and the included charging cable that comes with the Galaxy Watch 5. Your mileage may vary depending on the charging adapter you use, but if you have something more powerful than 10W, the Watch 5 seems to take advantage of it without a problem.

Annoyingly, the Galaxy Watch 5 still uses the more restrictive WPC charging tech instead of Qi, meaning it only charges with the included charger in the box or a certified one from Samsung. Unlike your phone or wireless earbuds with wireless charging, you can’t just place the Galaxy Watch 5 on any charger and expect it to work.

Galaxy Watch 5: Software

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 ships with Wear OS 3.5 and Samsung’s One UI Watch 4.5 software layered on top. The interface is pretty much identical to the Watch 4’s, featuring a variety of gestures for you to get around. The basics are as follows:

  • Swipe down to view your Quick Settings
  • Swipe up to see your apps
  • Swipe right to view notifications
  • Swipe left to cycle through tiles (aka widgets)
  • Press and hold on the watch face to select a new one

After familiarizing yourself with the various gestures for a few minutes, navigating One UI Watch 4.5 is a piece of cake. Everything is within reach from the watch face, the software is visually pleasing to look at, and you can fully customize the two physical buttons to open apps, trigger a voice assistant, and more. Google Assistant is also available right out of the box — something that wasn’t available on the Watch 4 until months after release. And it works very well! I press and hold the top button, the Assistant pops up immediately, and it answers my questions/commands within a second.

One UI Watch 4.5 isn’t a significant change from One UI Watch 4.0 that shipped on the Watch 4 last year, but there are a couple of meaningful changes. You can now reply to messages using a full QWERTY keyboard that supports tap and swipe typing. Swipe typing has been a little challenging to pull off, but tapping away at characters – combined with generous autocorrect — has been a surprisingly good experience. You can also now change your method of input at any time. Simply swipe up from the keyboard and switch to voice dictation, handwriting, or emojis whenever you’d like.

Better input isn’t the only new thing in One UI Watch 4.5. This latest version of the software supports dual-SIM switching if you have multiple SIMs on your Galaxy smartphone, easier access to accessibility features, and more customization options for Samsung’s included watch faces.

All of this works incredibly well and finally makes Wear OS feel like a fully realized smartwatch platform. Except for one remaining pain point: apps.

It’s been a long time since I wore a Wear OS watch as my daily wearable, and I was hoping that the app selection would be improved compared to my last time with the platform. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

To Google and Samsung’s credit, having easy access to apps like Google Maps, Google Assistant, Google Wallet, Samsung Pay, and Samsung Health is great. But the minute you start looking for third-party applications, it’s disappointingly barren.

When you open the Play Store on the Watch 5, you can quickly tap the Apps on your phone button to see which of your phone applications have Wear OS equivalents. The only non-Google and Samsung ones I found were Outlook and Bring (a grocery list app I use). There’s no Starbucks app, Delta app, United app, Telegram app, Authy app, Messenger app, ESPN app — you get the point. Wear OS has been around since 2014, and despite being on the market for over eight years, its app selection is still extremely lacking. That’s not a fault of the Galaxy Watch 5 specifically, but rather a larger problem for Wear OS that Google has yet to find a solution for.

Galaxy Watch 5: Health tracking

Health tracking is a major component of almost every smartwatch today, and the Galaxy Watch 5 is no different. The 3-in-1 BioActive Sensor on the underside of the Watch 5 powers its health-tracking feature set. This includes step tracking, auto workout detection, manual workout tracking for 90-plus exercises, and built-in sleep tracking with a Sleep Coaching platform that creates personalized sleep programs. There’s also 24/7 heart-rate monitoring, SpO2 tracking, an ECG app for A-fib detection, and the same Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis sensor from the Watch 4 — allowing you to see your body fat, skeletal muscle, body water, and other stats within seconds.

The new health sensor this year is a skin temperature sensor, but at the time of publication, I have nothing to say about it. That’s because the sensor isn’t actually available for Watch 5 owners to use. It’s an interesting addition and one that should hopefully be activated soon, but Samsung hasn’t provided an ETA for when that’ll be. Considering how long it took for Google Assistant to arrive on the Watch 4, don’t be surprised if you end up waiting months to use it.

While that sounds overwhelming, Samsung does a good job of presenting everything in an easy-to-digest manner. The main Samsung Health app on the Watch 5 houses all of your data in one place — including your daily activity, steps, sleep, heart rate, etc. You can also use numerous health-related tiles, including a sleep tile, body composition tile, exercise tile, and more for quick access to these stats next to your watch face.

During my time with the Galaxy Watch 5, all of the data it collected seemed quite accurate. My heart rate was always within range of what I expected it to be, step tracking looked good, automatic workout detection worked flawlessly, and sleep tracking performed just as well. The Galaxy Watch 5 shows how long you slept, how long you spent in various sleep stages, calories burned during sleep, and your minimum blood oxygen level. It’ll even work with your Samsung Galaxy phone to track your snoring if you’d like.

I can’t speak to how robust the Galaxy Watch 5’s health platform is for a serious or professional athlete, but as a casual fitness person who enjoys a few walks and runs throughout the week, I’ve been happy with the Galaxy Watch 5. From tracking a workout and my sleep to my fat mass, it collects a lot of data.

My only suggestion to Samsung would be to do something more with that data that I can actually act on. It’s neat seeing my body composition, what my daily activity looks like, and how I’m shifting between sleep stages at night. But as it currently stands, neither the Samsung Health app on the Watch 5 or my Samsung phone offers meaningful insights into what all of those numbers mean. The data is there and presented clearly, but the details behind all of those numbers could be explained better.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: Price and availability

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is available for purchase now. Pricing starts at 280 for the 40mm model with Wi-Fi. Adding LTE to the 40mm Watch 5 increases the price to 330. There’s also the 44mm Galaxy Watch 5 with the same Wi-Fi and LTE configurations, which retail for 310 and 360, respectively.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5: Our take

Just like the Watch 4, the Galaxy Watch 5 is again one of the best Wear OS watches you can buy. But the Watch 5 mainly holds onto that crown because its predecessor was so good, rather than because it does anything new or exciting. From the design and display to the chipset and health-tracking sensors, so much of the Watch 5 is a repackaging of what worked with the Watch 4. If it felt like Samsung had peaked with its smartwatch formula last year, that feeling is even more pronounced with the Watch 5.

That’s not an exciting description on paper, but it ends up serving the Watch 5 quite well in daily use. Everything that was great about the Watch 4 is still here. And combined with the improvements that Samsung did make — like the larger battery and faster charging — you again end up with one of the best smartwatches to pair with your Android phone.

Does that mean everyone should rush out and buy the Galaxy Watch 5 this very instant? No. If you already have a Galaxy Watch 4, there’s no point in upgrading to its successor. And if you’re OK waiting a bit longer, it’s worth seeing what Google has up its sleeve with the Pixel Watch coming this fall. But if you do need a smartwatch for your Android device and want to buy one today, the Galaxy Watch 5 is among the best we can recommend.

Editors’ Recommendations

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